This is a copy of a document that stated a policy of the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government. The previous URL of this page was https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/making-the-food-and-farming-industry-more-competitive-while-protecting-the-environment. Current policies can be found at the GOV.UK policies list.

Issue

The farming, food and drink sector is responsible for 3.5 million jobs and 7% of the UK’s overall economy. Making this sector more productive and competitive, particularly by increasing exports, will help economic growth.

We need to produce more food, not just for economic growth but also to feed the growing world population.

We also need to get better at producing food in efficient ways. Farmers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers all have a part to play in reducing waste and using resources effectively.

At the same time, we need to try to prevent the pressure we’re putting on the land, including through climate change, from damaging the environment.

Actions

Improving confidence in our food chain

Since the horsemeat incident we have worked with industry to restore confidence in food. Consumers have a right to know that food is what it says it is. Fraud undermines consumer confidence and damages the interests of legitimate food businesses that follow the rules.

The Elliott review into the Integrity and Assurance of Food Supply Networks examined the strengths and weaknesses of food supply networks in the UK.

As part of work we have already started, and following recommendations in the Elliott review, we will:

  • set up a Food Crime Unit to give greater focus to enforcement against food fraud in government
  • make sure the country has a network of food analytical laboratories capable of testing food authenticity in the future
  • improve coordination across government to protect food integrity and tackle food crime
  • make sure there is better intelligence sharing between the food industry and government about potential threats to food integrity
  • support industry to ensure that food businesses know their supply chain. In particular by encouraging industry’s efforts to put in place a robust and effective supply chain audit system that does not just rely on paper audit trails

Learn more about how we will act on the recommendations of the Elliott review.

Increasing exports and making the food industry more competitive

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) are working with the food and drink industry to implement an action plan to increase exports in the farming, food and drink sector. It sets out how we’ll:

  • open more markets and remove trade barriers
  • promote our industry at important overseas trade events
  • encourage more companies to export and support those who already do so

We’re already working to:

We’re also encouraging more food producers to add value to their products by registering them under the EU Protected Food Names scheme and Protected Wine Names scheme.

Increasing food production while improving the environment

In the natural environment white paper, we said we would find ways to increase food production while also improving the environment.

To do this, we set up the Green Food Project, working with the food, farming and environmental industries. This is a major study into how Britain’s food system needs to change.

We published the project’s initial conclusions in July 2012. We’ll use these conclusions and ongoing work and discussions from the Green Food Project to inform policy in the future.

Building a sustainable food chain

As part of our wider work to make sure the UK has a secure, environmentally sustainable, affordable supply of food, we’re:

Improving public sector buying of sustainable food and catering services

We are improving the way public sector buys sustainable food and catering services. A plan for public procurement of food sets out how we will help to build a healthy future for people, farms and food producers by:

  • simplifying the buying process
  • supporting farmers and food producers
  • encouraging investment, innovation and skill development within the food industry
  • improving the health and wellbeing of the nation by providing better quality food in public institutions, such as schools, colleges, hospitals and prisons
  • encouraging the procurement of food produced in an environmentally friendly way and to high standards of animal welfare

Read more about our policy to improve public sector food procurement.

Funding for agriculture to support good environmental management

We provide funding, advice and other support for farmers to promote environmentally friendly ways of managing land and increased production.

Farmers can get funding for work that meets these aims through the Rural Development Programme and the Environmental Stewardship scheme.

Farmers who claim payments under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) must meet a set of conditions, called cross compliance. This includes conditions for good environmental stewardship.

Providing better information to farmers

We’ve reviewed the way we provide advice and information to farmers (the Review of Advice, Incentives and Voluntary Approaches). We’ve published the results of the review, and set out our plans to provide information that is better integrated and more straightforward to use.

Attracting more skilled people into agriculture

We need to attract more people with the right skills and knowledge into the agricultural sector. We have been working with the industry led ‘Future of farming review’ group to identify the barriers facing talented new entrants when considering a career in agriculture.

The review group has now published their recommendations.

Regulating the use of pesticides

Pesticides are needed to control a variety of weeds, diseases, pests and moulds. However, if they are not made and used safely, they can be a risk to people and the environment. We regulate and control pesticides and neonicotinoid insecticides to minimise the risks without losing the benefits.

Protecting soils

Soils are an essential part of agriculture and an important natural resource. We’re working to make sure soils are safeguarded and managed in sustainable ways. We’re also supporting the horticultural industry as it reduces its use of peat.

Controlling cloning and genetic modification

We regulate to ensure the safety of environmental releases of genetically modified (GM) organisms (like plants and medicines) for research trials. At EU level we are pushing for the controls on the commercial use of GM products to operate sensibly, to encourage innovation and growth, and so that we don’t forego the potential benefits of this technology. Read more about our policy on GM.

We enforce EU and UK legislation that controls the cloning of farmed animals.

Using evidence and research

We develop policy based on evidence from research. Our priorities for research are to:

  • fill the evidence gaps highlighted by the Green Food Project report
  • give more cohesive information to farmers, land managers and policy-makers

We’re using large research ‘platform’ projects such as the Greenhouse Gas Research and Development Platform, which brings together over 100 scientists in 16 research institutes.

We’ll use this platform approach to research issues involved in producing enough food for a growing population from a shrinking land, water, nutrient and energy resources. This will build on the insights from the Foresight Report and the Green Food Project.

Background

We’ve developed this policy in accordance with our priorities for 2012 to 2015, which include:

  • support and develop British farming and encourage sustainable food production
  • enhance the environment and biodiversity to improve quality of life
  • support a strong and sustainable green economy, including thriving rural communities, resilient to climate change

The natural environment white paper

The natural environment white paper set out our plans for the natural environment for the next 50 years. In the white paper, we say that England needs a competitive farming and food industry which contributes to global food security. In the long term, food production depends on a healthy environment. As over 70% of the land is farmed, farmers and landowners play an important role in achieving these goals.

The Foresight Project

The Department for International Development (DFID) and Defra jointly sponsored the Foresight Project on Global Food and Farming.

This was an international project looking at how we can produce enough food to feed a global population of 9 billion, while protecting the environment.

The project’s final report was published in 2010.

Genetic resources

Defra, the devolved administrations and the Farm Animal Genetic Resources expert committee carried out an inventory of all UK breeds of farm animals in 2012. This was published as part of a UK country report on farm animal genetic resources in April 2013.

Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture

We published a detailed review of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in November 2012. This assessed how well our approach to reducing these emissions has worked.

Appendix 1: EU and international policies and initiatives

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

Much of the UK’s food policy is influenced by EU legislation. The EU is the biggest trading bloc in the world, and so plays an important part in issues about global food production.

We’re working in the EU towards an EU food policy which:

  • meets the needs of Europe’s citizens
  • enables a sustainable and competitive food system
  • supports global food security

The EU Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe says that the EC will publish a communication on sustainable food. This will consider ways to:

  • limit waste throughout the food supply chain
  • lower the environmental impact of food production and consumption

The EC will consult on the communication in spring 2013.

EU initiatives

Important EU initiatives include:

International food security

Access to food is an important international issue. Currently:

  • more than 1 billion people around the world don’t have adequate access to food
  • 30 to 50% of food grown worldwide is either lost (post-harvest) or wasted

These issues will be more difficult because of the growing world population, which is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation predicts demand for food will grow by over 40% by 2030 and 70% by 2050. The effects of increasing affluence, urbanisation and climate change will also add pressure to food supplies.

The global challenges of food security were set out in the Foresight Report on the Future of Food and Farming. Our response to this and how our policies address national and global food security are set out in the One-year review of the report.

We’re working in partnership with research councils and others on the Global Food Security Programme. This research programme aims to find ways to meet demand and supply food that is safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable.

Appendix 2: encouraging the UK food and drink industry to use resources more sustainably

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

For the food and drink industry, beyond the farming and growing stage, the 2006 Food Industry Sustainability Strategy:

  • identified the main environmental sustainability issues affecting the sector
  • provided a plan for action

Leading UK trade associations and businesses have developed sustainability strategies in response.

Initiatives such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and climate change agreements have encouraged efficient energy use and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in these sectors.

However, the situation is patchy. We need to take further action to improve resource efficiency - including energy use - beyond basic measures. This requires:

  • innovative approaches
  • research to provide reliable information and baseline data
  • support
  • clear advice on resource efficiency best practice (especially for smaller businesses)

Rather than turning immediately to regulation to create change, we’re working in partnership with industry to encourage efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Schemes include:

  • working with the soft drinks supply chain to improve resource efficiency and sustainable production and consumption, and funding research to support this

  • work to encourage sustainable sourcing of palm oil

  • funding a research project into technologies and practices which can reduce environmental impacts in the food chain, especially lean production techniques

We work in a similar way to encourage sustainable production in other sectors.

We also work to encourage sustainable consumption. This is about consuming in a way that meets our present needs, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs for:

  • an adequate food supply
  • the availability of natural resources, including the natural environment

An important factor in this is our work to prevent and reduce food waste, by industry and consumers.

Appendix 3: managing soil in sustainable ways

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

Soil is an essential natural resource. It supports:

  • food production
  • carbon storage and climate regulation
  • water filtration
  • flood management
  • biodiversity and wildlife

In the natural environment white paper we said that by 2030 we want:

  • all of England’s soils to be managed sustainably
  • the threats to soil to be reduced or eradicated

Sustainable agricultural soils

The Soil Protection Review (SPR) 2010, which is part of cross compliance, is one of our main ways of making sure our agricultural soils stay in good agricultural and environmental condition. (Cross compliance is a requirement that farmers keep their land in a good agricultural and environmental condition and meet certain legal requirements.)

The SPR requires those subject to cross compliance to:

  • identify the risks of soil erosion, compaction and organic matter loss on their land
  • put in place a minimum number of measures to prevent that risk
  • take post-harvest management measures for combinable crops
  • take measures for the access of waterlogged land
  • take measures on the burning of crop residues

In response to the recommendations of the Farming Regulation Task Force, we’re working with the industry to review our current soil standards in cross compliance. We responded to the review in January 2013. We aim to put new arrangements in place by the end of 2013. We evaluated the current arrangements in November 2012.

Guidance for good practice in soil management

We’ve published guidance to promote good practice in soil management. This includes:

Research and evidence

The soils policy programme is informed by an evidence strategy.

We carry out research to improve our understanding of soils. This includes a significant research programme over 4 years to explore:

  • how soil degradation can affect the soil’s ability to support vital ecosystem services, such as flood mitigation, carbon storage and nutrient cycling
  • how best to manage our lowland peat in a way that supports our efforts to mitigate climate change

Appendix 4: neonicotinoid insecticides

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

Neonicotinoids are a group of chemicals used as insecticides.

Several studies have suggested that low doses of neonicotinoids could have sub-lethal effects on bees with consequences for bee populations. Defra takes any threat to bees very seriously. We’ve consistently made it clear that we will restrict the use of these products if the evidence shows the need.

The UK government’s position

Defra has kept evidence on neonicotinoids under open-minded scrutiny. We assess new studies as they emerge and consider how they alter the overall situation.

We’ve taken advice from the independent expert Advisory Committee on Pesticides, which has considered the evidence on several occasions. The committee advised in January 2013 that there were grounds for a review of neonicotinoid authorisations under pesticides legislation. This is being done by the HSE’s Chemicals Regulation Directorate.

Independent experts advised that there was a need for further experimental evidence on the issue of whether bees may face harmful exposure to neonicotinoids in field conditions. We therefore commissioned research, completed in March 2013, to explore further the impacts of neonicotinoids on bumble bees in field conditions.

Following this work, we produced an assessment of the evidence about neonicotinoids and bees. The assessment cannot exclude rare effects of neonicotinoids on bees in the field. However, it suggests that effects on bees do not occur under normal circumstances.

We continue to build our understanding of these issues by:

  • completing research to understand what levels of pesticide residues and disease in honey bees are normal
  • undertaking a longer-term project to quantify the actual exposure of wild bumblebees to sub-lethal doses of neonicotinoid insecticides in UK landscapes
  • producing a National Pollinator Strategy in collaboration with stakeholders. It will build on existing initiatives, both inside and outside of government, with the aim of safeguarding the future of these key species and the service they provide. We plan to publish the strategy in early summer of 2014.

We’re also working to better understand the environmental and agronomic implications of possible restrictions on neonicotinoids, including the consequences of using alternative pesticides or pest control measures.

The position in Europe

Considerable efforts have been put into designing an updated risk assessment process for the effects of pesticides on bees and UK experts have contributed to this work. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a draft paper in July 2013.

In May 2013, the Commission imposed severe restrictions on the use of the three neonicotinoids on a long list of crops.

The UK, along with a number of other member states opposed the restrictions because the evidence suggests that effects on bees do not normally occur. We emphasised the importance of taking a considered, proportionate and evidence-based approach and pressed for greater clarity on the evidence and reasoning behind the proposals. We also pressed for further information from the Commission on economic and agricultural impacts.

Despite our objections, we have implemented the measures. They came into force 1 December 2013.

The Commission has undertaken to review its restrictions in 2015. It is crucial that this process is well informed. We are considering the additional scientific work required and how this should be carried forward.

Regulating pesticides

All pesticides, including neonicotinoids, are tightly regulated. The risk assessment process, set out in European legislation, looks in detail at the risks to honey bees, considering a range of factors including methods of application and examining both lethal and sub-lethal effects.

The regulatory process is constantly updated so that it advances with scientific knowledge and the authorisations of pesticide chemicals are reviewed regularly to ensure that they meet the latest standards. Those authorisations that do not are restricted or withdrawn.

A code of practice provides guidance to pesticide users on minimising the exposure of bees.

Appendix 5: cloning of farmed animals

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

Cloning is the creation of an organism that is an almost exact genetic copy of another.

Cloned animals and food safety

The government agrees with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that there is no evidence of any difference in the safety of food produced from cloned animals or their descendants and that from conventionally bred animals.

EU developments on animal cloning for food production

The European Commission has announced proposals IP/13/1269 to prohibit the commercial cloning of animals for food production (although they will allow scientific research to continue) and to ban the sale of food produced from clones.

The UK government believes these controls are unnecessary. Not only are there no food safety issues associated with food from clones, but existing EU and national legislation will provide the necessary safeguards for the welfare of the animals concerned. We will be making these points forcibly when the proposals are discussed in Brussels in due course.

It is important that we keep an open mind on new technologies; a point made recently in the Foresight report.

The Novel Foods Regulation

Meat and milk from cloned animals are classed as ‘novel foods’ under the EU Novel Foods Regulation (1997). This means they must be assessed for safety before they can be legally marketed anywhere in the EU.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is responsible for food safety, including food from cloned animals and their descendants.

In 2011, the FSA announced that food from an animal descended from a clone would no longer be classed as ‘novel’. This is in line with policy by the EC and other EU member states.

Earlier negotiations to update the Novel Food Regulations failed. The EC will now consider when and how to restart the legal process of updating these.

Food labelling

The FSA deals with labelling in relation to food safety. Defra is responsible for labelling in relation to food standards and consumer choice. Meat and milk from the descendants of cloned animals do not need to be labelled as such, because there is no evidence that they are a risk to human health.

This was agreed by the FSA in 2010.

Defra’s view is that mandatory labelling of meat or milk products derived from animals with a clone in their ancestry would be unenforceable and impractical.

Animal welfare

Animal welfare is regulated in the UK through a combination of EU and national legislation. Donor animals, surrogate mothers and clones themselves would be subject to these welfare requirements. For more information, see our policy on protecting animal welfare.

Further information

The National Standing Committee on Farm Animal Genetic Resources provided advice on cloning in 2010.

Appendix 6: pesticides

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

As pesticides are used to kill unwanted pests, weeds and moulds, they can also harm people, wildlife and the environment. The UK has strict controls on the sale and use of pesticides. They are divided between:

  • plant protection products (essentially pesticides used in agriculture, horticulture and the home garden) – which the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) is responsible for
  • biocides, which include disinfectants, wood preservatives and insect repellents, which Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for

It is up to everyone who is involved with pesticides to ensure that they are used safely and effectively. All pesticides must be authorised before they can be sold and supplied for use in the UK.

National Action Plan for pesticides

We’ve developed a UK National Action Plan, required under the EU directive on the sustainable use of pesticides, which aims to set high and uniform standards for the use of pesticides across the EU. The directive is transposed in the UK by the Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012.

The National Action Plan is designed to ensure that plant protection products can be used sustainably in the UK. It includes legislative and other controls on:

  • the marketing and use of pesticides
  • residues in food
  • other areas affected by pesticide degradation and disposal

Using the expertise of the stakeholder Pesticides Forum, we’ll continue to monitor the impact of the measures detailed in the plan and, where necessary, update it.

The action plans must be formally reviewed every 5 years. However, as government and non-government initiatives may change within this period, we may need to update the plan periodically.

Risks of exposure to pesticides

On 2 December 2013, the government accepted all the recommendations made in an independent review of how the risks are assessed for people (such as residents and bystanders) who may be exposed to pesticides.

The original report was by the Bystander Risk Assessment Working Group (BRAWG). They undertook a review of the Health and Safety Executive’s regulatory risk assessments for bystanders and residents who are potentially exposed to pesticides.

Change to “grandfather rights” for pesticide users

“Grandfather rights” currently allow anyone born before 31 December 1964 and suitably trained, to use plant protection products (PPPs) authorised for professional use, on their own or their employer’s land, without having to hold an operator’s Certificate (of Competence).

From 26 November 2015, “grandfather rights” will no longer apply. Everyone who uses PPPs authorised for professional use must have a certificate (under the Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012.

In addition, it will be an offence for anyone to purchase PPPs authorised for professional use after 26 November 2015, unless they have ensured that the intended end user has a certificate.

Further information

Regulation of pesticides

Day-to-day work to regulate pesticides is carried out by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) of the Health and Safety Executive.

CRD’s website offers detailed information about the regulation of pesticides including:

  • product databases
  • environmental impacts
  • food safety issues

It also hosts information on a number of advisory groups, including:

The Advisory Committee on Pesticides

The Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) is an independent scientific advisory committee providing advice to ministers.

In 2012, we consulted on the future of the ACP and the sister body covering Northern Ireland, the Advisory Committee on Pesticides Northern Ireland. A summary of responses has now been published. Responses to the consultation showed most supported our proposal to abolish the ACP and to reconstitute it as an expert scientific committee.

We will now make these changes and will shortly lay an Order to abolish the ACP. Subject to the necessary Parliamentary processes, we intend that the Order will come into force by the end of March 2015. We have already started transition planning to develop arrangements for the new Expert Committee.

Appendix 7: genetic modification

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

Genetic modification (GM) is a biotechnology that is being used to make new products, in particular new types of crop plant.

In global terms the use of GM crops has increased steadily since the first commercial plantings in North America in the late 1990s. By 2014 about 18 million farmers in 28 countries were growing GM crops on 181 million hectares, which is 13% of the world’s arable land.

No GM crops are being grown commercially in the UK, but imported GM commodities, especially soya, are being used mainly for animal feed, and to a lesser extent in some food products.

See how GM plants are created.

Our policy on genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

The protection of human health and the environment are our overriding priorities.

We’ll only agree to the planting of GM crops, the release of other types of GM organism, or the marketing of GM food or feed products, if a robust risk assessment indicates that it is safe for people and the environment. GM product applications should be assessed for safety on a case-by-case basis, taking full account of the scientific evidence.

We’ll ensure consumers are able to exercise choice through clear GM labelling rules and the provision of suitable information, and will listen to public views about the development and use of the technology.

We support farmers having access to developments in new technology and being able to choose whether or not to adopt them. If and when GM crops are grown in England commercially, we will implement pragmatic and proportionate measures to segregate these from conventional and organic crops, so that choice can be exercised and economic interests appropriately protected.

We recognise that GM technology could deliver benefits providing it is used safely and responsibly, in particular as one of a range of tools to address the longer term challenges of global food security, climate change, and the need for more sustainable agricultural production. Developing countries should have fair access to such technology and make their own informed decisions regarding its use.

To encourage innovation, fair market access for safe products and economic growth, the government believes that regulation of this technology must be proportionate.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) leads on the environmental safety of GMOs and wider issues surrounding the use of GM crop technology.

The Food Standards Agency leads on the safety of GM food and feed and on applications to market GM food and feed products.

The regulatory regime

Anyone who wants to release a GM organism or market a GM product has to get formal authorisation before doing so. Applications for approval to market a product (including crop seeds for cultivation, foods or feeds) are assessed and decided upon at EU level, while applications to release a GM organism for research and development purposes are considered at national level. For more information see previous release applications and consents in the UK.

The assessment process for GM release or marketing applications considers potential safety factors such as toxicity, allergenicity, and the fate of any possible transfer of novel genes to other organisms. Applicants have to provide a dossier of relevant information to cover these points, and this is scrutinised by our committee of independent experts, the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE).

The European Food Safety Authority plays a central role in assessing applications for EU approval to market GM products. In the UK, ministers are given expert scientific advice on the safety of proposals to cultivate GM crops or release other types of GMO (eg GM vaccines in a clinical trial) by the independent Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment.

EU law also requires any approved GM products to be clearly labelled, including foods derived from GM crops that do not have a detectable GM content.

GM crop seeds, foods and animal feeds cannot be marketed without prior authorisation. Applications for authorisation are evaluated and decided upon at an EU level. However, in January 2015 the European Parliament agreed a change to EU law. This will allow individual Member States to decide whether to accept the planting of EU-approved GM crops in their own country. After approval by the Council of Ministers this change is expected to come into force in the spring or summer of 2015. Applications to release a GM organism into the environment for research purposes (such as a GM crop trial) are considered by individual countries. For more information see previous consents for trial releases in England.

On 16 March 2015 the EU Regulatory Committee will consider an application by Florigene to import, into the EU, cut carnation flowers which have been modified for petal colour and herbicide tolerance. We have published a summary of the UK’s views on this application.

Relevant legislation

The main legislation on the release or marketing of GMOs and GM products is listed below. Other legislation may have a bearing on work with GMOs and applicants need to ensure that they comply with all the relevant regulations.

EU legislation

EU Directive 2001/18/EC sets out procedures for considering applications to release GMOs into the environment for research or commercial purposes.

Food and Feed Regulation 1829/2003 creates a specific harmonised procedure for the scientific assessment and authorisation of GM food and feed products. It also requires labelling of all GM food and feed which contains or consists of GMOs, is produced from GMOs (like glucose syrup from GM maize), or contains ingredients produced from GMOs (eg tomato paste, lecithin from GM soya, which is used as an emulsifier in chocolate bars).

Traceability and labelling regulation 1830/2003 (PDF 120 KB) sets out EU requirements for a document audit trail to account for and identify approved GM products throughout the marketing chain, with the aim of facilitating accurate labelling.

UK legislation

Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) is the primary legislation that gives the Defra Secretary of State general powers and responsibilities to control the deliberate release of GMOs in England, and to implement Directive 2001/18.

Genetically Modified (Deliberate Release) Regulations 2002 supplements the EPA by setting out detailed rules for the implementation of Directive 2001/18, including specific requirements for applications to release GMOs.

Regulations 1829/2003 and 1830/2003 are implemented in England through the following regulations:

Similar regulations have been implemented in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Appendix 8: horticultural peat

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

Peat is a finite and controversial resource. The horticultural industry is over-reliant on peat as a growing medium. We believe the industry should use less peat and aim to stop using peat altogether. Instead, it should rely on environmentally and economically sustainable growing media.

Reducing and eliminating the use of peat will bring other benefits, including:

  • helping to mitigate climate change
  • improving biodiversity
  • reducing the amount of waste we send to landfill

Reducing the use of peat

The natural environment white paper (2011) included an ambition to stop using peat in horticulture by 2030. We set up the Sustainable Growing Media Taskforce in 2011 to advise us on achieving that ambition.

The taskforce published its final report and draft roadmap in 2012.

In our response to the taskforce, we set out how we will support the horticultural sector as it changes to using sustainable growing media.

We’ll review the policy in the second half of 2015.

We’re also: